Mike Licona is one of my favorite Christian historians, and so I’m going to rely on him to answer the questions in this post. He explains why the four biographies in the New Testament should be accepted as historically accurate: (55 minutes)
What a Baltimore Ravens helmet teaches us about the importance of truth
What happens to Christians when they go off to university?
The 2007 study on attitudes of American professors to evangelical Christians
Authors: Who wrote the gospels?
Bias: Did the bias of the authors cause them to distort history?
Contradictions: What about the different descriptions of events in the gospels?
Dating: When were the gospels written?
Eyewitnesses: Do the gospel accounts go back to eyewitness testimony?
This is basic training for Christians. They ought to show this lecture whenever new people show up, because pastors should not quote the Bible until everyone listening has this information straight.
Dr. Licona has a new book on the differences between the gospels coming out with Oxford University Press in 2016 (I just found out!), and so I thought it would be a good idea to re-post a lecture featuring the man himself.
He tweeted this about the new book:
The manuscript for my new book pertaining to why there are differences in the Gospels is almost complete and is scheduled to be published by Oxford University Press sometime in 2016. This book will reflect my research in Plutarch during the past 7.5 years.
I’m excited! Will definitely get this! Oxford is the most prestigious academic press, so it must be good.
Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.
Only Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume” and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.
The most centrist outlet proved to be the “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” CNN’s “NewsNight With Aaron Brown” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” were a close second and third.
“Our estimates for these outlets, we feel, give particular credibility to our efforts, as three of the four moderators for the 2004 presidential and vice-presidential debates came from these three news outlets — Jim Lehrer, Charlie Gibson and Gwen Ifill,” Groseclose said. “If these newscasters weren’t centrist, staffers for one of the campaign teams would have objected and insisted on other moderators.”
The fourth most centrist outlet was “Special Report With Brit Hume” on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “Nightly News” to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.
“If viewers spent an equal amount of time watching Fox’s ‘Special Report’ as ABC’s ‘World News’ and NBC’s ‘Nightly News,’ then they would receive a nearly perfectly balanced version of the news,” said Milyo, an associate professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Missouri at Columbia.”
The programming studied on Fox News offered a somewhat more positive picture… of Republicans and more negative one of Democrats compared with other media outlets. Fox News stories about a Republican candidate were most likely to be neutral (47%), with the remainder more positive than negative (32% vs. 21% negative). The bulk of that positive coverage went to Giuliani (44% positive), while McCain still suffered from unflattering coverage (20% positive vs. 35% negative).
When it came to Democratic candidates, the picture was more negative. Again, neutral stories had a slight edge (39%), followed by 37% negative and 24% positive. And, in marked contrast from the rest of the media, coverage of Obama was twice as negative as positive: 32% negative vs. 16% positive and 52% neutral.
But any sense here that the news channel was uniformly positive about Republicans or negative about Democrats is not manifest in the data.”
Senior executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, writers and other self-identifying employees of ABC, CBS and NBC contributed more than $1 million to Democratic candidates and campaign committees in 2008, according to an analysis by The Examiner of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880.
By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744.
[…]The data on contributions by broadcast network employees was compiled by CRP at the request of The Examiner and included all 2008 contributions by individuals who identified their employer as one of the three networks or subsidiaries. The data does not include contributions by employees of the three networks who did not identify their employer.
The CRP is the organization behind OpenSecrets.org, the web site that for more than a decade has put campaign finance data within reach of anybody with an Internet connection.
President Obama received 710 such contributions worth a total of $461,898, for an average contribution of $651 from the network employees. Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain received only 39 contributions totaling $26,926, for an average donation of $709.
MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.
The donors include CNN’s Guy Raz, now covering the Pentagon for NPR, who gave to Kerry the same month he was embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq; New Yorker war correspondent George Packer; a producer for Bill O’Reilly at Fox; MSNBC TV host Joe Scarborough; political writers at Vanity Fair; the editor of The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition; local TV anchors in Washington, Minneapolis, Memphis and Wichita; the ethics columnist at The New York Times; and even MTV’s former presidential campaign correspondent.
A 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center asked media consumers three questions: which party was in control of Congress (Democrats), who was the secretary of state (Condi Rice) and who was the prime minister of Britain (Gordon Brown).
Let’s document how the viewers of “Hannity & Colmes” were better informed than Stewart’s “Daily Show” gigglers on basic political facts. Hannity viewers beat Stewart’s on the Democratic majority (84 percent to 65 percent correct answers), Condi Rice (a dramatic 73 percent to 48 percent gap) and Gordon Brown (49 percent to 36). Overall, as a percentage getting all three questions right, Hannity won 42-30.
Just keep that in mind when you are watching the mainstream media news shows. A very good site to bookmark and read is Newsbusters, which documents mainstream media bias daily.
Dr. George Yancey did a presentation at the Reasonable Faith group at UT Dallas.
Here’s the lecture: (40 minutes)
About the speaker:
Dr. George Yancey is a Professor of Sociology at the University of North Texas. He is the author of Christian works such as One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches (InterVarsity Press), Beyond Racial Gridlock: Embracing Mutual Responsibility (InterVarsity Press), co-author of United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race (Oxford University Press) and co-author of Transcending Racial Barriers (Oxford University Press). He has also authored several research articles on the topics of interracial marriage and multiracial churches. Along those lines he is also the author of Multiracial Families (Routledge) which explores the current literature on different aspects of interracial families and Neither Jew Nor Gentile (Oxford University Press) which explores racial issues on Protestant college campuses.
His BS and MS are in economics. His PhD is in sociology.
Summary of the lecture:
Is discrimination against Christians real?
Which groups draw the most animosity?
What are the characteristics of those who most oppose conservative Christians?
What do cultural progressives think about conservative Christians?
Is the animosity against conservative Christians reasonable, or is it hatred / fear?
What kinds of stereotypes dominate animosity towards Christians?
Does animosity towards Christians affect hiring decisions in academia?
Why is the problem of Christianophobia not being addressed?
I was thinking about this lecture, and I was thinking, what would I do if I ran into one of these people who were really angry with me and wanted to feed me to lions, gas me, or murder me in other nasty ways. And I guess my only answer would be to speak to them and have them defend their beliefs without allowing them to pigeonhole me with a label. Maybe just focus on one particular issue like media bias or the origin of the universe, and try to focus on evidence rather than state my conclusion. Come to think of it, if you can name people on both sides and give evidence for both sides, that seems to work really well.
The more secular and left-wing the opponent, the more you have to stick with discussing ONLY evidence, and never say your view. So, you can say “how do you work this cosmic microwave background radiation in with your worldview?” but you can’t say, “I’m a conservative evangelical Christian, and you should come to church with me”. The secular progressives seem to be very concerned that Christians vote blindly for political leaders that restrict their freedoms, so again, don’t talk about policies, talk about the reasons on both sides for those policies. For example, do this “what is the morally significant difference between an unborn human and a born human that confers a right to life?” rather than “I’m pro-life and you should be pro-life too, or I’ll put you in jail”.
I have had conversations with people on the secular left who could not name a single reason for any of my beliefs. For example, gun ownership – they had no idea that people own guns for self-defense. Or capital punishment – they had no idea that there is a deterrent effect on other people contemplating violence crimes. They simply cannot express the view of their opponents or the reasons why their opponents hold those views. Maybe that’s partly their fault for being lazy and insular, but it might also be our fault, too, for not knowing the reasons. I know that when I explain the reasons to them (on both sides) and say that this is the evidence that needs to be debated, then they do often calm down. I think that their perception that we are irrational and faith-based scares them.
I think it’s a good idea to become aware of what the research says about secular progressive attitudes towards Christians so that we know how to act around them to avoid setting them off. When you are dealing with people who have this extreme hatred of you, you probably want to chip away at them rather than just be who you are right up front. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of tolerance here, which is so strange coming from the crowd that talks the most about tolerance. We are the only ones who they think it’s ok to fire, fine, imprison, etc.
The story began with Politico, which ran with the audacious headline, “Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship.” Even I was taken in by the headline – after all, that’s a pretty bold claim!
Politico began thusly:
Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from POLITICO, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The key word here is “fabricated.” Did the Carson campaign admit any such thing? Absolutely not. The facts reported by Politico don’t even support this interpretation of the Carson campaign’s response. According to Politico, Carson said in his 1992 memoir Gifted Hands that he was offered a “full scholarship” to West Point after dining with General William Westmoreland in 1969. Here’s the relevant passage from Carson’s autobiography:
At the end of my twelfth grade I marched at the head of the Memorial Day parade. I felt so proud, my chest bursting with ribbons and braids of every kind. To make it more wonderful, We had important visitors that day. Two soldiers who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in Viet Nam were present. More exciting to me, General William Westmoreland (very prominent in the Viet Nam war) attended with an impressive entourage. Afterward, Sgt. Hunt introduced me to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point. I didn’t refuse the scholarship outright, but I let them know that a military career wasn’t where I saw myself going.
That’s the entire relevant portion of Carson’s account. He reiterated that account last month in an interview with Charlie Rose, when he said, “I was offered a full scholarship at West Point, got to meet General Westmoreland and go to Congressional Medal of Honor dinners. But decided really my pathway would be medicine.”
Politico followed up on this story. They reported one additional piece of information that seems to conflict with Carson’s story: Carson never applied to West Point, and was never extended admission.
But Carson never said he applied. He said he was extended a full scholarship offer. What’s more, West Point doesn’t offer scholarships: all admission is free contingent on serving in the military afterwards. It thus seems probable that Westmoreland or another military figure tried to recruit Carson, telling him that he wouldn’t have to pay for his education – and that Carson read that as a “full scholarship,” and never applied.
In fact, that’s exactly what Carson’s campaign manager said to Politico in an email:
Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit. In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer. He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors. They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.
But here’s how Politico editorialized: “When presented with this evidence, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false.”
Just to be clear, that is the part where Politico lied. The Carson campaign never admitted that the story was false.
That’s nonsense. They did no such thing. They provided details that corroborated Carson’s story and explained his loose use of the language. If someone told you that you could go to college for free, you might reasonably conclude that you had been offered a full scholarship to attend that university. But Politico would call you a liar if you used such language to describe the exchange.
Now, some on the right are saying that Carson should be held to a higher standard here than other candidates because he’s running as an “outsider.” But this is a basic case of misinterpreting facts, not an outright lie. Carson served in ROTC. Prominent people wanted him to go to West Point. He wouldn’t have had to pay. He didn’t apply because he didn’t want to go. Those facts are not in dispute. It’s the specific wording over which media have decided to crucify him.
This is a textbook example of a left-wing media hit. Politico would never editorialize about any Democrat who issued such a response to a factual inquiry in this manner. Politico won’t even conclude that Hillary Clinton lied about her attribution of the Benghazi attacks to a YouTube video despite email evidence that she knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack entirely unrelated to a YouTube video.
But for Ben Carson, they’ll make an exception.
Shapiro is updating the post as developments occur. For one thing, in the same book (“Gifted Hands”) that Politico cites, Carson explicitly says that he NEVER applied nor was he accepted to West Point:
Politico is accusing Carson of saying that he applied to West Point and was given a full scholarship, but Carson’s own book says that he never applied and therefore was never given a full scholarship. The offer that he is talking about is an informal offer by General Westmoreland, saying that if he applied, then he would be given a full scholarship – because of his grades and other qualifications. Nowhere did Carson ever say that he made a formal application, and received a formal offer of a full scholarship. On the contrary, he makes clear in his book that it was an informal offer over dinner.
Ben notes that Carson’s campaign has responded to the Politico smear via the New York Times:
I don’t remember all the specific details. Because I had done so extraordinarily well you know I was told that someone like me – they could get a scholarship to West Point. But I made it clear I was going to pursue a career in medicine. It was, you know, an informal ‘with a record like yours we could easily get you a scholarship to West Point.’
The Carson campaign is calling the POLITICO story: “an outright lie“. POLITICO needs to retract the story, apologize for their attack on a black conservative, and fire the journalist.
The left is in full-blown smear-Carson mode. He is, after all, the left’s worst nightmare — a black Republican who is brilliant, kind and widely admired, including by many blacks.
It is a rule of left-wing life that black Republicans must have their names and reputations destroyed. The left knows that if blacks do not vote overwhelmingly Democrat, Democrats cannot win a national election.
Personally, I believe the smear was motivated by a desire to destroy Carson because he is a black conservative. Leftists cannot stand black conservatives. As a non-white conservative, I have often had to face the most vitriolic attacks from Democrats, and in my experience, the hatred is much worse for Republicans who don’t fit their mold. Conservative blacks and conservative women mess up the liberal stereotype of conservatives being exclusively white and male, and so they must be destroyed by any means necessary.
I’m going to introduce a lecture by Dr. George Yancey by linking to an article from the Cornell University campus newspaper. (H/T Dennis Prager)
Of the nearly $600,000 Cornell’s faculty donated to political candidates or parties in the past four years, over 96 percent has gone to fund Democratic campaigns, while only 15 of the 323 donors gave to conservative causes.
The Sun’s analysis of Federal Election Committee data reveals that from 2011 to 2014, Cornell’s faculty donated $573,659 to Democrats, $16,360 to Republicans and $2,950 to Independents. Each of Cornell’s 13 schools — both graduate and undergraduate — slanted heavily to the left. In the College of Arts and Sciences, 99 percent of the $183,644 donated went to liberal campaigns.
OK, now with that out of the way, let’s watch a 28-minute lecture from Dr. George Yancey about bias against religion in academia:
If you watch 5 minutes, then you’ll definitely stay and watch the whole thing. It’s fascinating.
Join Dr. George Yancey in an in depth discussion of the bias taking place within academia against religion in general, but more specifically Christianity. Within the discussion Dr.Yancey uses brief explanations of his previous book, Compromising Scholarship and many other excerpts of his past research as well as his forthcoming research to give us a new viewpoint on academia and religion.
Republican scholars are more likely than Democrats to end up working outside academia,as documented by Daniel Klein, an economist at George Mason University. Dr. Klein, who calls himself a classical liberal (a k a libertarian), says that the university promotes groupthink because its system of “departmental majoritarianism” empowers the dominant faction to keep hiring like-minded colleagues. And when a faculty committee is looking to hire or award tenure, political ideology seems to make a difference, according to a “collegiality survey” conducted by George Yancey.
Dr. Yancey, a professor of sociology at the University of North Texas, asked more than 400 sociologists which nonacademic factors might influence their willingness to vote for hiring a new colleague. You might expect professors to at least claim to be immune to bias in academic hiring decisions.
But as Dr. Yancey reports in his new book, “Compromising Scholarship: Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Education,” more than a quarter of the sociologists said they would be swayed favorably toward a Democrat or an A.C.L.U. member and unfavorably toward a Republican. About 40 percent said they would be less inclined to vote for hiring someone who belonged to the National Rifle Association or who was an evangelical. Similar results were obtained in a subsequent survey of professors in other social sciences and the humanities.
Dr. Yancey, who describes himself as a political independent with traditional Christian beliefs and progressive social values, advises nonliberal graduate students to be discreet during job interviews. “The information in this research,” he wrote, “indicates that revealing one’s political and religious conservatism will, on average, negatively influence about half of the search committee one is attempting to impress.”
Dr. Yancey’s research was a survey, not a field experiment, so it’s impossible to know how many of those academics who confessed to hypothetical bias would let it sway an actual decision. Perhaps they’d try to behave as impartially as the directors of graduate studies in Dr. Gross’s experiment.
The lecture is a real eye-opener. It turns out that in academia, you are likely to be viewed the same way as blacks were viewed by slave-owners, and Jews were viewed by Nazis.
We have a lot of work to do to correct these perceptions, but that’s not going to happen unless churches and Christian parents start to take the life of the mind more seriously.
UPDATE: Papa Giorgio posts the Dennis Prager audio: